Trans Youth Transforming Schools and Beyond

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 30, 2021

As Pride Month draws to a close, educators and school leaders have an opportunity to think about how to support and ally with LGBTQIA+ students more effectively all year long. But we must not forget that LGBTQIA+ youth are also powerful agents of change who are actually leading the way in many key arenas. This year, we are seeing a number of transgender youth standing up for equity, inclusion, and justice in powerful ways within and beyond their own school communities. 

Read More

Topics: LGBTQ

Exploring Audre Lorde's Legacies

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 24, 2021

As we reflect upon various issues that figure in the lives of LGBTQIA+ people during Pride Month, it is also important to retain an understanding of the vastness and diversity of this community. Considering the impact of different dimensions of one’s identity—for example, sexual orientation, gender identity, racial identity, and class background—on one’s experience is crucial for gaining a meaningful understanding of one’s experiences. The complex connections between these various dimensions of identity is often described using the term “intersectionality.” Though it is not uncommon to encounter discussion of intersectionality in 2021, this was not always the case. One key figure who has left an indelible mark on intersectional thought and organizing is the Black lesbian scholar, feminist, mother, and poet Audre Lorde. Born in 1934, Lorde not only challenged her contemporaries to think about identity and politics intersectionally, but also challenged them to value the inner emotional landscape as a core resource in the work of liberation.

Read More

Topics: LGBTQ, Black History

5 New YA Books with LGBTQIA+ Narrators

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 9, 2021

Pride Month has arrived and as schools wind down for the summer, it is a great opportunity for young people to dive into some new books that speak to the experiences of LGBTQIA+ people. Check out the following five new YA titles which address themes spanning activism, young love, school bullying, immigration, and navigating family relationships from the perspectives of a diverse array of LGBTQIA+ narrators.

Read More

Topics: LGBTQ

5 New Books on LGBTQIA+ Histories and Life

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 3, 2021

Pride Month each June is a fantastic time for educators to recommit to engaging with the histories and life experiences of LGBTQIA+ people all year. In addition to accessing rich curricular resources for the classroom, educators can also benefit from embracing their own arc of learning around these themes. Below are five new books that explore histories and experiences of LGBTQIA+ people, offering rich fodder for learning, reflection, and even teaching. These books address a host of themes including the unique life journeys of queer individuals with intersectional identities; the campaign to establish same-sex marriage and some of its broader consequences; and how schools can be reshaped as transformative spaces that support LGBTQIA+ youth.

Read More

Topics: LGBTQ

How One Lesbian Couple Defied the Nazis: An Interview with Dr. Jeffrey Jackson

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on December 2, 2020

In a recent interview, I spoke with Dr. Jeffrey JacksonProfessor of History at Rhodes College and author of Paper Bullets: Two Artists Who Risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis. In this interview. Dr. Jackson discusses the untold story of Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe, a French lesbian couple who intervened in the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands through an expansive artistic campaign during World War II. Better known to art historians by their adopted names of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, Schwob and Malherbe’s story of resistance is told for the first time in Dr. Jackson’s new book. Here he shares a first look at their incredible story with Facing History.

Read More

Topics: Art, Europe, resistance, LGBTQ

Teaching While Queer: One Teacher on Being Out in the Classroom

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 25, 2020

In a recent interview, I spoke with educator Emily Hainesteacher and literacy coach at the Laboratory School of Finance and Technology in the South Bronx. A founding teacher at the Facing History School in Manhattan, Haines discusses her experience being an out lesbian, white, middle-class teacher over her 22-year career, as well as approaches she recommends to LGBTQ educators she coaches and how she deploys intersectional thinking to support members of her school community.

Read More

Topics: Upstanders, Racism, LGBTQ

Centering Queer History and Students in the Classroom: Insights from Eric Marcus

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 17, 2020

Eric Marcus, host of the acclaimed Making Gay History podcast and author of Making Gay History, spoke with Facing History in a recent webinar about teaching students with LGBTQIA+ histories and experiences in mind. Marcus’ critically acclaimed podcast is based on a wealth of exclusive interviews he conducted with LGBTQIA+ people beginning in the 1980s. Here we highlight some of Marcus’ most essential insights about the importance of teaching and learning LGBTQIA+ history, as well as the impact on students with those identities.

Read More

Topics: LGBTQ

New Books on LGBTQIA+ History and Life

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 10, 2020

As Pride Month begins this June, Americans are met with a more limited set of options for gathering in groups to celebrate, resist, and learn. As Pride marches are canceled and reimagined in this moment of social distancing, we also have an opportunity to dive into the richness of LGBTQIA+ history and life through a wealth of books written by LGBTQIA+ people and allies. For educators and others eager to deepen their own learning on these subjects, the following 6 titles released this year provide new perspectives on this community’s history, its unsung heroes, the history of gender-neutral pronouns, and the intersection of sexuality and gender identity with other dimensions of identity. 

Read More

Topics: Books, LGBTQ

June is Pride Month

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 1, 2020

June is Pride Month in the United States—a time to honor our nation’s diversity in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as the array of experiences, struggles, and visions that LGBTQIA+ people bring to the world. Originally instituted to honor the Stonewall Riots of 1969, Pride Month has grown to encompass a vast and rich array of events that reflect the diversity of the community itself. And yet, this Pride Month is different from any other in recent memory. Even as social distancing disrupts the typical array of in-person gatherings, marches, and celebrations, LGBTQIA+ people and allies are still finding many ways to connect, learn, reflect, and resist.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks for these new offerings on the histories, experiences, and brilliance of LGBTQIA+ people:

Read More

Topics: LGBTQ

Teaching LGBTQIA+ Students: Insights from Harvey Milk High School

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 28, 2019

Harvey Milk High School was the first high school in the world designed for LGBTQIA+ students when it opened in New York City in 1985. In a recent interview, I spoke with two Harvey Milk staff—clinical social worker Tanya Koifman and social studies teacher Natalie Velazquez—about some of the unique challenges facing LGBTQIA+ students today, the depth of resilience their students exhibit, and strategies educators can use to engage LGBTQIA+ students everywhere.

Read More

Topics: New York, Teachers, LGBTQ

At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.


Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all